Major Hair Analysis Patterns

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Please note that hair analysis patterns represent trends and tendencies only, and are not diagnostic in nature.

The Metabolic Types

The Slow Oxidizer

The slow oxidizer has higher than normal calcium and magnesium levels, and lower than normal sodium and potassium levels. A slow oxidizer has underactive thyroid and adrenal glands.

Symptoms of Slow Oxidation. Those with a slow oxidation rate tend to be tired, apathetic, depressed and even despairing and suicidal if their oxidation rate is very slow.  Some are emotional as their copper level rises.  Some are also anxious, although fatigue and depression are more common.  Many use stimulant foods, drugs or other methods to keep going.

Their blood sugar and blood pressure tend to be low, at least until later in life when they can develop arteriosclerosis and diabetes, which raise these levels.  They are often cold and do not sweat easily.  Their brains often work slowly, and many have brain fog, spacey thinking, and slower thinking.

They usually have dry skin and dry hair, and many complain of constipation.  They often gain weight on the hips and legs, while the upper body may be smaller.  Most have underactive thyroid glands, especially the women.  They are prone to osteoporosis, cancer, infections, skin problems, and many other health conditions.

Healthy Slow Oxidation. A mildly slow oxidation rate is associated with a more quieter, gentler, more introverted and less energetic personality.  Mild slow oxidizers are often pleasant to be around and can function quite well in society and at home.  They also tend to be somewhat more emotionally mature and spiritually aware than fast oxidizers.  They make good scientists, accountants, doctors, lawyers, housewives and can be good at any task that requires patience, tedium or plodding for sustained periods of time. Think of a long-distance runner, as opposed to a sprinter, who is more often a fast oxidizer.

Unhealthy slow oxidizers are those in whom either the oxidation rate is very slow, other ratios are imbalanced, or toxic metals or other nutrient deficiencies are pronounced. Very slow oxidizers are definitely in the exhaustion stage of stress and many are obviously or not so obviously ‘burned out’. Their energy level is much lower, even if they run around a lot. This impacts their personality in subtle ways. They are often spacey, copper toxic, ‘not all there’ and can be rather apathetic, out of touch, depressed and even despairing and suicidal as the oxidation rate slows further. Mentally, they are not as sharp and may become confused in their thinking.

Slow oxidizers can become severely depressed and negative. This is very common today. It may contribute to a common negative view of humanity in many of them, that “people are the problem on planet earth”. This is a refrain heard often among environmentalists and socialists, for example. Negativity and depression can give rise to unhealthy habits such as drug or alcohol use, but it is more to get rid of depression than to just get a thrill, as fast oxidizers may use them for. Some become very emotional due to copper imbalance, while others quietly endure, like battered women. They may lash out suddenly when the pressure is too much, like a cornered animal that prefers not to fight as its energy level is too low. Excessive copper makes many slow oxidizers extremely analytical. Some become scholars and perpetual students, but they are often ‘up in the head’. Others are creative and artistic, but still often quite depressed underneath.

Very extreme slow oxidation. When the oxidation rate becomes very sluggish, a person may become sad, weepy, depressed and even despairing. Suicidal thoughts may occur due to very low energy levels and the buildup of copper and other toxic metals in the brain. This pattern is associated with total exhaustion, apathy and lack of motivation. Just getting up in the morning becomes a chore and life is not enjoyable at all. This situation is quite common, especially among groups such as teenage girls and young women. It helps account for higher suicide rates and self-destructive or odd behaviors.

The Fast Oxidizer

The fast oxidizer has higher than normal sodium and potassium levels, and lower than normal calcium and potassium levels. Fast oxidation is generally characterized by excessive activity of the thyroid and adrenal glands.

Symptoms of Fast Oxidation. Those with a fast oxidation rate tend to be anxious, irritable, in a hurry, and aggressive if their oxidation rate is very fast.  They are usually somewhat emotional, short-tempered and high-strung.  They easily become anxious and wound up, and may need sedative drugs to slow down.

Their blood sugar can be on the high side due to higher cortisol levels.  Their blood pressure tends to be on the high side because of salt and water retention.  For the same reason, their tissues often have a watery appearance (low muscle definition).  They are often warm and sweat easily.  Their brains often work well, with fast thinking.

They usually have oily skin, and some tendency for frequent or loose bowel movements.  They may gain weight in the area of the abdomen due to high levels of cortisol and cortisone. 

They are in a fight-or-flight mode too much of the time.  This uses up certain nutrients and eventually can result in symptoms and illnesses associated with this metabolic type.  These include high blood pressure, fatal heart attacks, anxiety, panic attacks, arthritis, and others.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fast Oxidation. The healthy fast oxidizer tends to be forward-looking, positive, and energetic, active, outgoing, and extroverted. They tend to have few health concerns.

When the oxidation rate becomes too fast or the sodium/potassium ratio decreases, symptoms may include irritability, anxiety, nervousness, fearfulness, anger, aggressiveness and belligerence. Very fast oxidizers are also often high-strung, or ‘uptight’ and literally have extreme muscle tightness and muscle cramps.

Temporary fast oxidizers or slow oxidizers under stress.  These are fast oxidizers that have other imbalances on the hair chart that indicate their condition is not a true fast oxidizer state, but rather a temporary one due to the presence of toxic metals or some other physical, emotional or spiritual stress condition. A hair mineral test will usually reveal a:

  • Sodium/potassium ratio less than about 2.5. This is the main indicator.
  • Calcium level perhaps greater than about 40 mg%.
  • Magnesium level perhaps greater than about 6 mg%.
  • Three lows or four lows pattern may be present.
  • Zinc level perhaps greater than about 16 mg%. True fast oxidizers usually have lower zinc levels.

Rarely, a person has none of these indicators, so that the hair analysis would appear to indicate a true fast oxidizer. In fact, however, the person is a temporary fast oxidizer. Signs of this include 1) the person’s age is greater than about 10, and/or 2) the person has significant health problems, usually including some slow oxidizer symptoms.

Symptoms of temporary fast oxidizers. Symptoms of both fast and slow oxidation may be present because this is a stalled transition state between fast and slow oxidation. For example, one may be anxious at times, yet depressed and tired at other times. Another combinations is high blood pressure (a fast oxidizer tendency) and hypothyroidism (a slow oxidizer tendency).

The Mixed Oxidizer

A mixed oxidizer is an individual who metabolizes food at a rate that fluctuates between slow and fast oxidation. There are two types of mixed oxidation—slow/mixed oxidation and fast/mixed oxidation. Mixed oxidation is normally a transitory state of oxidation and is moving toward a state of slow or fast oxidation. Mixed oxidizers often experience a combination of symptoms associated with both fast and slow oxidation (see above under “Fast Oxidizer” and “Slow Oxidizer”).

What is the Ideal Oxidation Rate?

An ideal oxidation rate is flexible. This means the body can increase it or decrease it as needed. Like a car engine, it should be able to run very fast or very slow, as needed.            

Assessing flexible oxidation is not possible with current mineral testing technology. A hair analysis only provides an average reading over a three-month period of time. Therefore, we cannot read the oxidation rate from moment to moment or even day to day, as the test is now performed. The best one can do is to check the test for a fairly balanced oxidation rate, as this gives a clue that the person may be able to speed up and slow down. In contrast, an extremely fast or extremely slow oxidation rate usually means the person is more stuck in either fast, slow, mixed, four lows or some other pattern.

Four Low Electrolytes or “Four Lows” – A Separate Metabolic Type

Four lows is present when the four major electrolytes—calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium—are all below their ideal levels. This pattern is a metabolic dysregulation that require a special approach to restoring health.

Symptoms. If the pattern is recent, there may be no symptoms. However, the four-low-electrolyte pattern is often associated with chronic fatigue and sometimes allergies. Other common symptoms are anxiety, irritability, insominia, muscle tightness, muscle cramps, and other symptoms associated with low calcium and low magnesium levels.

Personality Tendencies. Those with this pattern tend to feel stuck, frustrated, and may have negative attitudes such as hidden anger or cynicism.

Other Important Patterns

Three Low Electrolytes or “Three Lows”

In this pattern, three of the four macro minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium) are below their ideal values.  This is also called Almost Four Lows, One Foot In The Tunnel or Skidding pattern.  It means you are close to a Four Lows pattern (see “Four Lows” above).

On an initial hair analysis, and in some cases on a retest, this pattern signifies overwhelming stress, usually lifestyle related.

Sodium-Potassium Inversion (Low Na/K Ratio)

The balance between sodium and potassium in the body is critical for health. It is so important that the ratio between sodium and potassium has been referred to as the “life-death” ratio. It is also a major vitality indicator.

Symptoms of a low sodium-potassium ratio. Those with a low sodium-potassium ratio tend to be burned out and experience negative emotions such as frustration, resentment and hostility.

On an initial hair analysis, a ratio between 2-2.5 is a mild low ratio and indicates some tendency for adrenal fatigue, glucose intolerance, and mild liver, kidney and cardiovascular stress.

On an initial hair analysis, a ratio between 1-2 is associated with trends for diabetes, hypoglycemia, adrenal weakness, fatigue, ulcers, allergies, reduced immune response, digestive weakness, low digestive enzymes, kidney and liver stress.

On an initial hair analysis, a ratio less than 1.0 is extremely low and associated with trends for adrenal exhaustion, chronic infections, hypoglycemia or diabetes, stroke, heart attack, cancer, and excessive protein breakdown

Double Inversion or Double Low Ratio Pattern

This pattern consists of a sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5 and a calcium/magnesium ratio less than about 4. The lower the ratios, the more severe the pattern.

This pattern emphasizes or worsens all the qualities, attitudes, and symptoms associated with a low sodium/potassium ratio (see above)—a chronic stress pattern. Those with a double low ratio may feel shattered and often feel like giving up.

Low Zinc (Less than 14 MG%)

A low zinc level tends to indicate hidden copper toxicity, impaired protein synthesis, and zinc deficiency. Replenishing zinc will help restore mental/emotional stability, protein synthesis, immunity, and more.

Zinc is needed for appetite, growth and digestion and has a calming effect upon the nervous system.

More patterns added soon…

Toxic Metals

Below are the elevated value for each toxic metal.

Toxic Metals and Hair Testing
Toxic Metals – Hidden
Toxic Metals – Sources

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Brian Brezinski is a nutrition consultant, health researcher, and advocate for medical freedom. He has a private nutrition practice that helps people resolve chronic fatigue, low energy, and other common health problems. Call Brian for a free introductory consultation today: 703 485 8245

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